2017-10-13 / Society

SC Wildlife Federation to offer Autumn Botany Class Saturday, October 21 at Sesquicentennial State Park

Contributed by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation


Dr. John Nelson, curator of the Herbarium within the Department of Biological Sciences at USC will be teaching the Autumn Botany Class Dr. John Nelson, curator of the Herbarium within the Department of Biological Sciences at USC will be teaching the Autumn Botany Class Don’t miss your opportunity to learn plant identification, with a special emphasis on the sunflower family, from the “Mystery Plant Doctor” of the “Making It Grow” TV Show.

Dr. John Nelson, curator of the Herbarium within the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina, will lead this class for the SC Wildlife Federation (SCWF) and offer tips on understanding the morphology of sunflowers and their relatives, as well as hands-on study of selected examples during a hike through Sesqui State Park.

The sunflower family, with over 20,000 species worldwide, is well-represented in habitats at Sesqui. This fascinating plant family occupies every natural setting in our state.

SCWF’s “Autumn Botany” class will be held Saturday, October 21 from 9 a. m. until 2: 30 p.m. and will be a combination of classroom and field work.

This class is open to the public, and the cost is $60 per person. Registration is online at: www.scwf . org/ event s Space fills quickly so register today to reserve your spot.

Dr. John Nelson, received his bachelor’s degree in biology from USC, where he was a student and protégé of Wade T. Batson. He received his masters degree in botany at Clemson University, where he was a student under the direction of John E. Fairey III, and where his taxonomic interests focused on southeastern species of the genus Stachys in the mint family.

He received his Ph.D. in biological sciences at Florida State University, as a student of Loran C. Anderson, where he studied the floral anatomy of Haplopappus, in the sunflower family.

His academic training was followed by six years within the SC Heritage Program, as ecologist and then botanist. He assumed his position as the curator of the USC Herbarium in 1990, and he teaches a plant taxonomy class.

Nelson remains active in the study of Stachys, particularly the North American species. During his tenure as its curator, the herbarium has more than doubled in terms of accessioned collections. The Herbarium remains committed to public service through a formal offering of free plant identifications (932 in calendar year 2015), and through a regular, weekly newspaper column called “Mystery Plant,” and he is very pleased to be regularly invited as the “Mystery Doctor with the Mystery Plant” in Clemson’s “Making it Grow!” SCETV series.

This class is offered as part of SCWF’s Palmetto Outdoor Academy, which aims to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about nature, outdoor recreation, and wild places around the state.

The Academy strives to expose motivated citizens to the diversity of flora and fauna in the Palmetto State and, by that exposure, build an understanding of the importance of conserving native habitats to maintain or restore the state's natural diversity.

The mission of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation is to conserve and restore South Carolina’s wildlife and wildlife habitat through education and advocacy. For more information, go to www.scwf.org or call (803) 256-0670.

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